Imperial Tokyo as a Contact Zone: the Metropolitan Tours of Taiwanese Aborigines, 1897-1941 コンタクト・ゾーン(接触地帯)としての帝都東京―台湾原住民の「内地観光」、1897年-1941年


March 3, 2014

Imperial Tokyo as a Contact Zone: the Metropolitan Tours of Taiwanese Aborigines, 1897-1941 コンタクト・ゾーン(接触地帯)としての帝都東京―台湾原住民の「内地観光」、1897年-1941年
Imperial Tokyo as a Contact Zone: the Metropolitan Tours of Taiwanese Aborigines, 1897-1941 コンタクト・ゾーン(接触地帯)としての帝都東京―台湾原住民の「内地観光」、1897年-1941年

Volume 12 | Issue 10 | Number 4

Article ID 4089


Overlooked by most scholars of Taiwanese history and almost entirely forgotten in the history of Tokyo, sightseeing tours organized by the Japanese colonial government brought groups of Taiwanese aborigines to the imperial capital twenty-one times between 1897 and 1941. The aim of these tours was to show the aborigines the “light of civilization” and impress upon them Japanese superiority. The aboriginal tourists, however, did not always learn the intended lessons of their visit. The tours made Tokyo the stage for complex cultural encounters that undermined the simple imperial narrative of civilization and savagery.


A number of studies in recent years have explored the relationship between Japanese colonizers in Taiwan and the island’s aboriginal minorities. Although aborigines made up a small percentage of the colonized population, they occupy a disproportionately large place in the colonial archive because they represented a special project for imperial Japan. From their first encounter with the Japanese military in 1874 until the early 1930s, many resisted Japanese encroachment with violence, and Japanese colonial administrators resolved to bring them under the yoke of civilization by whatever means necessary. They were also objects of anthropological study and popular fascination. Among the diverse Asian populations that came under Japanese colonial rule, Taiwan’s aborigines were the only people to be referred to in official documents as “savages” (banjin 蕃人). This term derived from Chinese usage, a reminder that the Japanese were inheriting a colonial relationship whose terms were to some extent already established. Taiwanese aborigines were thus a minority oppressed twice over: first under Chinese then under Japanese dominance. As the empire’s first and only designated “savages,” they were also a test of Japanese claims to be the bearers of a civilizing mission.1

One component of this relationship between imperial civilizers and colonized savages was sightseeing tours. Groups of aborigines were brought regularly to Taipei to be shown the effects of Japanese rule, or to be taken to didactic exhibitions, as well as to meet colonial officials. The colonial government also sent groups to Japan proper. The first of these tours took place in 1897, just two years after the Qing cession of Taiwan to Japan. Groups came subsequently in 1911, 1912, 1918, 1925, and almost annually thereafter until 1941. Several of the tours included more than fifty participants and more than one tour group came in some years.2 The trip usually involved about two to three weeks in the metropole, roughly one week of which was spent in Tokyo. These officially sponsored tours were not embassies. They involved neither imperial audiences nor negotiations with officials apart from a token lecture from a colonial administrator or military officer. Nor were they leisure visits: at least in the early tours, a high level of coercion was involved.

Figure 1: postcard of Taiwanese aborigines representing several tribes arriving in Tokyo, 1910s.

Despite this contrast to what we would ordinarily call a tourist trip, the tours were referred to at the time as kankō 観光, using the term that today is the standard equivalent of the English “tourism.” Kankō, however, was not in common parlance in Japan in 1897, when it first appears in the colonial archive with reference to the naichi kankō (metropolitan tour) of a Taiwanese group. Neither the dictionary Nihon shinjirin (Sanseidō, 1897) nor the dictionary Kotoba no izumi (Ōkura shoten, 1898) has an entry for kankō. The Sanseidō New English-Japanese Dictionary of 1902 offers other Sino-Japanese words rather than the modern kankōkyaku as translations for “tourist.” Just a few years later, however, in 1909, Sanseidō’s English-Japanese Dictionary included kankō as a translation for “sightseeing.” It thus appears that kankō was just coming into use at this time.

This Sino-Japanese term derives originally from a phrase in the Book of Changes: 観国之光, 利用賓于王, which meant something like “Seeing the light of the country and thereby making oneself useful as a guest of the king”(Book of Changes XX, “Kwan” hexagram). Presumably drawing upon this classical reference, Japan’s first steamship, given by the Dutch to the shogunate in 1855, was christened Kankōmaru. Kankō zusetsu (1893), one of the few Meiji-period publications to use the term in its title, was a compilation of military regalia.

When Japanese officials began using it, kankō thus connoted considerably more than merely sightseeing: its derivation suggested both a civilizing function and the idea of duty to a sovereign. Some time in the early twentieth century, however, kankō became the standard word for “tourism” generally. In 1930, the Japan Tourist Bureau, whose official name in Japanese until this time was a transliteration from English, was renamed Kokusai kankō kyoku (International Tourism Agency). By this time, few would have known the original classical reference. If indeed the metropolitan tours for Taiwanese that began in 1897 initiated the circulation of the term, first among officials and later among the general population, then we might say that the origins of modern Japanese international tourism lay in the colonial civilizing project. It is surely significant, in any event, that colonial officials chose this rare, morally laden word, rather than other common terms for travel, embassies or study tours.

The Japanese would have found a variety of historical precedents for this practice of bringing colonized subjects to the metropole in order to impress them. Since the sixteenth century, natives of the Americas had been brought to European capitals and sent back to tell their countrymen what they had seen. Eighteenth-century French and English expeditions to the Pacific returned with a few islanders, some of whom became interpreters as well as objects of fascination in Europe. The United States continued earlier European practice in North America by bringing delegations of Indians to Washington DC frequently throughout the nineteenth century.3 Micronesians under German rule in the late nineteenth century were brought to Germany. Samoans under the rule of the United Kingdom after World War I were brought to New Zealand to be shown modern farms and factories.4 The Qing rulers of Taiwan had also brought aboriginal leaders to the continent before the cession to Japan.5 Yet none of these cases of coerced or semi-coerced tourism appears to have been as systematic or as frequent as the metropolitan tours arranged for aborigines under Japanese imperial rule.

Over the period of roughly four decades that these visits spanned, their meaning evolved as conditions in the empire changed. By the late 1930s, they had contributed to the assimilation of some of the participants as loyal colonial subjects of Japan, and were thus judged a success. Viewed more broadly, however, the metropolitan tours engendered complex and unanticipated interactions among colonial subjects, administrators, and the mass public in the metropole, questioning the terms and the boundaries of civilization and savagery within Japanese imperial modernity, rather than solidifying a unified narrative of empire.

The record of the Taiwanese visit in 1912 shows that the group spent eight days in Tokyo. They were accompanied at all times by a police escort. The sites they were taken to see were overwhelmingly military, beginning on day one with a cannon factory, a bullet factory and an armory. The group also saw the Double Bridge at the entrance to the imperial palace, two theaters in Asakusa, the Ueno zoo, an Overseas Development Exposition, and the Shirokiya Department Store. They did not visit high bourgeois cultural landmarks such as the Imperial Theater and Imperial Hotel.6

A police minder accompanying another group that visited in 1912 recorded a summary of the tourists’ impressions.7 Like any public document alleging to represent the words and sentiments of people under colonial rule, this report must be treated as a highly mediated form of knowledge, which tells as much about its author and prospective audience as it does about the colonial subjects themselves. Nevertheless, it allows us to glimpse something of the Taiwanese group’s experience of their Japanese hosts’ efforts to educate and, at the same time, to intimidate them. Not surprisingly in light of the tour itinerary, a large part of the summary describes the impression the group formed of Japan’s military power. Even at the school they were shown, the young pupils were described as “studying war” (sensō gakumon o nasu). The group’s impression was based not only on Japan’s institutional or technological superiority, however. The aborigines were apparently struck as much by the sheer number and ubiquity of soldiers in Tokyo: “the military is positioned everywhere, in numbers beyond our ability to calculate,” the report has them say.

Figure 2: Postcard of Taiwanese aborigines being shown military drill in the metropole.

It is difficult to determine, however, whether or not the military display had the desired effect of intimidating the visitors. The Taiwan Nichinichi newspaper reported on their visit to Yasukuni Shrine on May 15, 1912. The group was taken to see the displays of arms in the Yūshūkan, the shrine’s arms museum. According to the newspaper, the group “went once around the exhibits, and finding a famous sword, commented brazenly ‘What could be crazier than storing away [a good weapon] like that? They ought to be able to give us at least one that cuts well.'”8 The tone here does not appear to be one of awe. The Yūshūkan display of usable weapons must have reminded them not only of Japan’s military superiority but of the fact that they had been forced to come to Tokyo weaponless.

This ironic effect resulting from promotion of Tokyo as a place of arms and soldiers was evident already in the response of the very first aboriginal visitors. Taimo Miseru, the leader of the group on the first visit in 1897, was reportedly asked by a newspaper reporter why he had joined the tour. He gave two reasons: first, he had heard that Japanese were all thieves without the skill to work themselves, so he wanted to see whether anyone farmed in Japan, and second, since his people had been forbidden guns and gunpowder, he was going to demand that this ban be lifted so they would no longer be compelled to buy them illicitly. Everywhere they went in Japan, Taimo Miseru’s group requested guns of their hosts. Shortly before their return to Taiwan, he voiced his frustration to an interpreter in words that were recorded as follows:

When we were leaving Taiwan, a Japanese chief at the Governor General’s Office advised us, ‘abandon your headhunting. Japanese were once like you, but we came to feel it was bad, and because we now deal with each other in a friendly way these days our houses and streets are all fine and complete. You too should quickly give up headhunting and work hard to do as Japanese do,’ and so on. Yet when we came to Japan, true enough, the streets and houses were very pretty, but [we found] you were producing lots of cannon and gunpowder. Why in a time of peace are you so busy making weapons? We were shown cannon taken from the Qing and told about them proudly in detail. I wondered why it was that the Japanese were engaged in producing so many weapons but distributing them only to their own underlings, and not allowing us to trade in them.9

Upon returning to Taiwan, the tour group was received in the capital by the Governor General himself, who presented each participant with a ceremonial Japanese sword. These they bluntly refused, saying they were useless (the phrase recorded was “these wouldn’t even kill a wild pig”). The interpreter pressed them to accept the swords as mementoes of their visit, which they eventually did. But when the train leaving Taipei was delayed, they became exasperated, threw away their gifts and set out for home on foot. The effort to impress Japan’s might in arms upon the visitors, and to seek their acquiescence, had the adverse result of impressing on them the selfishness of the colonizers.

Encounters with crowds rather than military displays may have been the most intimidating experience in the capital. In Asakusa, one of the groups visiting in 1912 was surrounded by gawkers, and the report of their police escort describes the aborigines as grateful that the police protected them from injury. In a revealing comment that could be the voice of either tourist or policeman, the episode concludes “It would appear that the metropolitan people crowded around us everywhere because of our strange clothes or the tattoos on our faces.”10 Even where the crowds were kept at a distance, the aborigines knew they were being watched and reported on, and must have felt the eyes of the Japanese public on them continuously. Awareness of themselves in the presence of this gaze of the metropolitan crowd had as profound an effect on aboriginal visitors as the fact of the crowds themselves, which were described in aboriginal accounts as being numerous “like ants.” In public lectures that a group of returning tourists were made to give to their Taiwanese countrymen roughly two decades later, in 1935, some spoke of the shame they felt when people in the metropole stared at the tattoos on their faces, and said they wished to have them removed at a hospital in Taipei.11 Authorities in Taiwan had been attempting to eradicate tattooing since the 1910s, but local customs remained strong. According to a survey conducted in 1930, 48% of Atayal people had tattoos, with the percentage higher for those over 30 years old. A survey in August, 1940, indicated that 72 aborigine men and 23 women had by that time had their tattoos surgically removed.12 At some time in the history of the metropolitan encounters, body markings that would have been the greatest points of pride at home had become sources of shame.

Figure 3. Commemorative photograph at the Musha Branch Office of Japanese colonial police in Taiwan with Atayal people and the heads of Salamao people killed at the behest of the Japanese (1920). Photograph courtesy Lin Zhicheng 林致誠 and East Asia Popular History Exchange, Taiwan. Source.

This photograph (figure 3) is not from one of the tours, but shows the people who would have been tour guides and tourists, here seen in Taiwan following the suppression of an anti-colonial movement. The Japanese police used the colonized aboriginal tribes to attack resisters to colonial rule-even paying them for heads and thereby encouraging increased incidence of headhunting. Although after 1913 the Government General forbade commercial distribution of photographs depicting severed heads, colonial police like those seen here apparently felt no compunction about recording a victory in their proxy wars with a photograph that included the heads of the vanquished (including a few that appear to belong to small children).13 In the metropole, the Taiwanese visitors would have found that outside of the colonial setting the official iconography of modern empire did not overtly represent the death or humiliation of the conquered: instead they saw statues of armed men and displays of weapons. Displaying severed heads was, however, a long tradition that warriors in Japan had in common with warriors in Taiwan. Westerners visiting Japan in the 1860s saw the decapitated heads of criminals on stakes near the highway leading into the capital. Although beheading of criminals in Japan was abandoned after the Meiji Restoration, replaced by the preferred Western practice of hanging, it continued to be practiced by the military in dealing with non-Japanese.14 And severed heads continued to flourish in Japanese metropolitan popular culture. Following the Sino-Japanese War, triumphal gates were built and captured weapons displayed in Tokyo, but as Kinoshita Naoyuki writes, the public apparently wanted heads. Victory celebrations featured lanterns, balloons, and soap in the shape of Chinese soldiers’ heads.15 This recent-or living-Japanese tradition of displaying heads (which also remained commonplace in the theater) made the Taiwanese aborigines special objects of fascination and anxiety. The first issue of The Savage Pacifier’s Companion (Riban no tomo 理蕃之友), a journal published beginning in January, 1932, for colonial officials and police, opened with a discussion of Taiwanese headhunting.16 As if fearing that some readers might equate the violent customs of the colonized with those of the colonizers, the author went to pains to distinguish headhunting from the “manly” behavior of samurai, who announced themselves when cutting off an enemy’s head, he explained, rather than attacking secretly.17 The Taiwanese tour party of 1936, which included two women, found itself turned away at rural inns by Japanese innkeepers who were afraid of having their heads taken in the night.18

The character of the Taiwanese metropolitan tours changed markedly in the late 1920s, with both Japanese hosts and Taiwanese tourists adopting the masks of peaceful civilization for one another. We can glimpse the changing relationship in the way that the visitors appear in surviving documents. Among records of tours up through the 1910s, a full list of tour group members’ names appears only for the first tour, which was the smallest. Although some of the early tours were followed by detailed reports, the reports focus on a few so-called “tribal leaders” (shūchō酋長, tōmoku頭目). In contrast, tour records published in the Savage Pacifier’s Companion of the 1930s include the personal names of a broader range of participants, and in a few cases, present the Japanese words of individual participants as direct quotations. By this time, the colonial administration had been in place for more than a generation. Aboriginal youth learned Japanese in primary schools. As Paul Barclay has recounted, the daughters of some aboriginal leaders had been betrothed to Japanese police officers in strategic alliances encouraged by the colonial authorities.19 For the ninth tour, held in 1928, the Taiwanese paid their own way. The emphasis in their itinerary from this time shifted from military facilities to the canonical imperial sites, beginning with the palace, along with cultural facilities. For example, the twelfth trip itinerary, in 1935, included first the palace, then the Colonial Affairs Ministry, the Taiwan Governor General’s Tokyo office, the Asahi newspaper offices, Meiji Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine and the Arms Museum, the Tōshōgū Shrine in Ueno, miscellaneous sightseeing in town, the zoo, the subway, Asakusa, the Mitsukoshi department store, and the night view of Ginza. Records of some visits also mention a lavish meal at the famous Gajōen restaurant sponsored by an entrepreneur with interests in Taiwan. It is not difficult to read these as junkets for assimilated aboriginal youth and the regional colonial police who accompanied them.20

This is not to say that peace now ruled in either colony or metropole, as metropolitan newspaper readers would have been keenly aware in the early 1930s. The period 1930-33, which marked a hiatus between the tenth and eleventh visits, saw several famous violent incidents. In the First Wushe (Musha) Incident of October 1930, a guerrilla force of Seediq tribesmen raided police armories for munitions and attacked the largely Japanese crowd at a school athletic event, killing 134. Their leader, Mona Rudao, had participated in one of the metropolitan tours. Over the next two months, Japanese forces killed 644 Seediq men in retaliation. The Second Wushe Incident followed in April, 1931, when aboriginal soldiers allied with the Japanese colonial government massacred all the remaining Seediq men being held in a Japanese prison camp. News of this massacre ultimately precipitated the resignation of Taiwan Governor General Ōta Masahiro in March of 1932 (by which time, metropolitan newspaper readers were probably more absorbed in the campaigns of the Kwantung Army and the establishment of Manchukuo). Meanwhile, back in Tokyo, Prime Minister Hamaguchi was mortally wounded in November, 1930, by the bullet of a Japanese ultranationalist. In May 1932, a group of Japanese naval officers broke into the home of Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi and shot him to death. They also attempted to kill several other public figures, and had planned to kill Charlie Chaplin, who was visiting Japan at the time.21 Although these incidents in the mountains of colonial Taiwan and in the heart of the metropolitan capital bore no direct relationship to one another, their rapid succession in the same time period serves as a reminder that despite the claims of civilization and of the pacifying influence of imperial modernity, the disenfranchised and discontent continued to turn toward armed violence against civilians in both places.

By 1937, the year in which the comprehensive empire-wide campaign to make loyal subjects of colonial populations was officially launched under the name kōminka, reports of metropolitan tours in the Savage Pacifier’s Companion had turned into a boilerplate litany of imperial pilgrimages, the tour organizers reporting how well behaved their charges were, and how they shed tears and sang the anthem at the sight of the Double Bridge, while some of the tourists themselves were quoted reporting (in post-tour gatherings held at police stations back in Taiwan) their awe, gratitude and pride at being taken to the sacred metropole. Ironically, the only exception mentioned in the journal was a representative of the lowland-and therefore more “civilized”-Ami people who had had six years of formal education. Interviewed by a colonial official upon returning to Taipei, the Ami tourist answered laconically that he had been most impressed by farms, trains, the Yawata Iron Works, and the quality of metropolitan rice. He made no mention of either imperial monuments or emotions of reverence and awe.22 The deep involvement of colonial police in everyday life in the highlands, together with the metropolitan effort to overawe the more recalcitrant peoples, may finally have succeeded in creating a stronger bond between some of them and the emperor state than did the attempts at assimilation among aborigines who had not taken up arms against the colonizers.

Fig.4 Taiwanese aboriginal tourists and their police minders posing for a commemorative photograph in front of the Imperial Diet, 1940. Riban no tomo, no.102 (June, 1940), 6.

In 1940, for the first time a photograph appears in the Savage Pacifier’s Companion showing the tour group in front of the Imperial Diet in Tokyo, apparently taken during their tour in May of that year. Perhaps at this late date the organizers were hinting at the prospect of future political representation in exchange for loyalty. Ironically, by October, 1940, all parties in the Diet would dissolve themselves into the fascist Imperial Rule Assistance Association, effectively ending prewar Japan’s experiment in representative politics. And even at this stage, despite increasing efforts to assimilate the aborigines through non-military means, the aboriginal tour itinerary still showed Tokyo as a military as well as a political capital, as indeed had the tour itineraries of the flocks of Japanese schoolchildren brought to Tokyo since the late Meiji period, who typically followed their visit to Yasukuni Shrine with a circuit of public statues of military heroes, ancient and modern. For the Taiwanese aboriginal visitor, however, the attempt to convey imperial awe in the metropolitan capital was never entirely divorced from the threat of violence.

The Taiwanese tour participants themselves were not the only audience that organizers considered when planning these tours. The tours were built around the interests of metropolitan Japanese as well. In fact, money seems to have been made from parading the tourists in commercial venues (as well as from the sale of postcards like those reproduced in this article). A writer enumerating the lessons of the tenth aboriginal tour in the Savage Pacifier’s Companion warned: “Seeking to please newspaper companies and department stores by bringing savage costumes must absolutely be avoided,” but added parenthetically, “although it is of course often economically advantageous.”23 This tour minder, who wished to show metropolitan audiences how far the aborigines had advanced toward civilization rather than how exotic they were, resented that the spectacle of the visiting aborigines called for native dress. The solution was to dress the tour participants in the matching khaki uniforms of the youth corps (seinendan), a practice first introduced in the 1929 tour. Nevertheless, a photograph printed in the Savage Pacifiers’ Companion after this date shows the Taiwanese in native dress meeting metropolitan officials. Clearly there was an appetite in the metropole for properly primitive primitives. Although the premise of the tours was to bring “primitive” people to a center of civilization and show them the path leading from one to the other, in fact the event was a mutual performance rife with contradictions.

The long period of metropolitan tourism for Taiwanese aborigines divides roughly into two, with the transition taking place in the 1920s. Tokyo was the high point of the tours throughout, but it had different meanings in these two periods. In the first two decades of colonial rule in Taiwan, when the primary focus of aboriginal policy was an armed invasion of aboriginal lands in the name of “pacification,” the visit to the imperial capital was supposed to be an intimidating experience. The aborigines’ tour of Tokyo was carefully orchestrated to show the city as a powerful military citadel. Yet the hosts could not orchestrate the tour participants’ responses, which were affected as much by their encounters with Japanese officials and the mass public as by the fact of Japanese military and technological superiority. Instead of exposing savages to the “light” of civilization, the early tours exposed the contradiction in the civilizing project, for the “savages” held up a mirror to the colonizers’ own savagery by demanding equality of arms as the condition for accepting “civilization.” One can only imagine the awkwardness of the moment when Taiwanese Governor General Kodama Gentarō granted Japanese swords to Taiwanese subjects he believed to be savages newly civilized by their trip to the metropole, only to have his lordly gesture rejected. Add to this that three years after this incident, Taimo Miseru, the leading aboriginal participant in the tour, was killed in battle against Japanese troops, and it seems doubtful that the tour had had the desired effect.24

The second phase, which began in the 1920s, involved more assimilated aborigines and a different itinerary in the capital. Now the hosts took the visitors’ outward subjection to Japanese rule as a given, and presented the visit as an opportunity for them to approach the august center of the emperor-state and to encounter directly a modernity toward which they were striving. Yet we have no more certainty that the spectacle in this stage was a success than we have about the spectacle in the earlier stage. Between the lines of loyal aborigines’ accounts one senses that their awareness of how they themselves were perceived and treated in the metropole at this stage too had at least as great an effect on their impressions of the tour as did the indoctrinating power of any sites they visited or things they were shown. Some would go on to fight and die for the emperor. Survivors’ testimony makes clear that like other oppressed minorities mobilized for war, they were driven to heroism by the determination to show that they were equal or superior to their oppressors.25

The colonial project as a whole was shot through with anxiety on the part of colonizers about how to assimilate the colonized without granting equality or implying cultural equivalence, as well as anxiety on the part of the colonized about how to gain equality without the cultural erasure of assimilation. Having provisionally thrown in their lot with the Japanese, the aborigines found upon arriving in the capital that their hosts were making every effort to impress them, but also that they were a spectacle themselves, exotic commodities in the imperial economy. As much as the highland frontier-or any colonial site-Tokyo too was a “contact zone,” where people from different locations within the empire encountered one another, and where they felt the gaze of others upon them, compelling them to acknowledge the imperial hierarchy and to identify themselves within it.

This article draws on material from my forthcoming book, Teikoku Nihon no seikatsu bunkashi (Everyday Life and Material Culture in Imperial Japan), to be published by Iwanami shoten in 2014

Recommended citation: Jordan Sand, “Imperial Tokyo as a Contact Zone: the Metropolitan Tours of Taiwanese Aborigines, 1897-1941,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 12, Issue 10, No. 4, March 10, 2014.

Jordan Sand is a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His publications include House and Home in Modern Japan (Harvard, 2004) and Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects (University of California Press, 2013. 


1 See Paul Barclay, “An Historian Among the Anthropologists: The Inō Kanori Revival and the Legacy of Japanese Colonial Ethnography in Taiwan,”Japanese Studies 21:2 (September 2001): 117-136; “‘Gaining Trust and Friendship’ in Aborigine Country: Diplomacy, Drinking, and Debauchery on Japan’s Southern Frontier,” Social Science Japan Journal 6:1 (April 2003): 77-96; “Contending Centers of Calculation in Colonial Taiwan: The Rhetorics of Vindicationism and Privation in Japan’s ‘Aborigine Policy’,”Humanities Research 14:1 (2007): 67-84; “Peddling Postcards and Selling Empire: Image-Making in Taiwan under Japanese Colonial Rule,” Japanese Studies 30:1 (May 2010): 81-110; Robert Thomas Tierney, Tropics of Savagery: The Culture of Japanese Empire in Comparative Frame (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010); Leo T.S. Ching, Becoming Japanese: Colonial Taiwan and the Politics of Identity Formation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001). For Qing encounters with and representations of aborigines, see Emma Teng, Taiwan’s Imagined Geography: Chinese Colonial Travel Writing and Pictures, 1683-1895 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004). For aboriginal interaction with both Chinese and Japanese authorities, see Henrietta Harrison, “Clothing and Power on the Periphery of Empire:The Costumes of the Indigenous People of Taiwan,” positions: east asia cultures critique 11:2 (2003): 331-360. On indigenous Taiwanese memories of Japanese rule, see Scott Simon, “Formosa’s First Nations and the Japanese: From Colonial Rule to Postcolonial Resistance,” The Asia-Pacific Journal. Posted on January 4, 2006. There is much else, including a large body of work in Japanese and Chinese. I am particularly indebted to Paul Barclay for his advice and expertise.

2 This list of dates is based on Matsuda Kyōko, “‘Naichi’ kankō’ to iu tōchi gihō: 1897 nen no Taiwan genjūmin no ‘naichi’ kankō o megutte,” Akademia: Jinbun, shizen kagaku hen dai 5 gō (Nanzan daigaku, January 2013), 87-88. I first learned of these tours in Leo Ching’s seminal article, “Savage Construction and Civility Making: Japanese Colonialism and Taiwanese Aboriginal Representation,” positions: east asia cultures critique 8:3 (Winter 2000): 795-818. Forthcoming work by Kirsten Ziomek analyzes the role of interpreters in the tours discussed in this article. South Sea Islanders were also brought to Japan annually from 1915, when Japan claimed German colonies in Micronesia north of the equator, until 1939. See Senjū Hajime, “Nihon tōchika Nan’yō guntō ni okeru naichi kankōdan no seiritsu,” Rekishi hyōron no.661 (May, 2005), 52-68.

3 Herman J. Viola, Diplomats in Buckskins: A History of Indian Delegations in Washington City (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981), 13-21.

4 Patricia O’Brien, “Ta’isi O.F. Nelson and Sir Maui Pomare: Samoans and Maori Reunited,” forthcoming.

5 Suzuki Sakutarō, Taiwan no banzoku kenkyū (Seishisha, 1977), 374-5. For an earlier case in which Taiwanese aborigines were brought to Japan in different circumstances, see Adam Clulow, “A Fake Embassy, the Lord of Taiwan and Tokugawa Japan,” Japanese Studies ( Volume 30 Number 1 May 2010): 23-42.

6 “Dai yon kai naichi kankō banjin kansō hōkoku” (1913). (JACAR Kokuritsu kōbunshokan Ajia shiryō sentaa digital archive) frames 3-4.

7 Coming in the middle of the Taiwanese Government Generals’s five-year military campaign against Atayal aborigines, this was also a busy year for metropolitan tours.

8 “Kankō banjin no kansō,” Taiwan nichinichi shinpō, May 16, 1912.

9 Quoted in Katsura Chōhei, “Mukashi no kankō,” part 1, Riban no tomo, July 1936, 8-9. Matsuda Kyōko discusses this incident in greater detail, quoting roughly the same words from the tour report of Fujine Yoshiharu, who accompanied Taimo Miseru and his countrymen in the 1897 tour. Writing in 1905, journalist and politician Takekoshi Yosaburō, who had just completed a tour of Taiwan for the colonial administration, reported that rifles were indispensable for the Ayatal people, among whom it was a source of shame for a man not to possess one, and that by ignoring the entreaties of Ayatal and other aborigines for arms, the government “hopes to reduce them to impotence.” Yosaburo Takekoshi, Japanese Rule in Formosa (1905), 221, 216.

10 “Dai ni kai naichi kankō banjin kansō gaiyō” (Taiwan banjin naichi kankō ni kansuru ken 1, 1912), JACAR (Kokuritsu kōbunshokan Ajia shiryō sentaa digital archive) 823, 826, 832.

11 Gotō sei, “Banjin no me in eijita naichi: kankō banjin ni sono kansō o kiku,” Riban no tomo 4:6 (June, 1935, 8.

12 Yamamoto Yoshimi, Irezumi no sekai (Kawade shobō shinsha, 2005), 244, 250. Scott Simon, “Formosa’s first nations” describes the painful recollections of female informants who had their tattoos surgically removed.

13 I have blurred the faces of the dead in deference to the feelings of descendants who might recognize them.

14 Daniel V. Botsman, Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan (Princeton University Press, 2007), 152.

15 Kinoshita Naoyuki, Haribote no machi (Asahi shinbunsha, 1995), 273.

16 A range of translations is possible for the Sino-Japanese term riban (理蕃) and indeed for the character 蕃 itself, which I have here rendered as “savage.” 蕃 (Chinese fan) has a long and complex history as a designation for peoples beyond the pale of Chinese civilization. Riban may also be translated with a more neutral-sounding phrase like “administration of aboriginal affairs,” which might better convey the character of the quotidian activities of Taiwanese colonial administrators during the 1930s, when the journal was published. However, at the time of the journal’s founding in 1932, less than one year after the brutal resolution of the Wushe Incident, and perhaps after as well, it seems reasonable to imagine that administrators saw themselves as pacifiers of savages, and saw their mission in the metropolitan tours and other efforts at moral suasion described in the journal as the continuation of a pacification project that prior to 1931 had involved assimilation and annihilation in equal measure.

17 “Banjin no kanshū kubigari,” Riban no tomo 1:1 (January, 1932), 3.

18 “Kankō no hankyō,” Riban no tomo, July 1936, 12.

19 Paul D. Barclay, “Cultural Brokerage and Interethnic Marriage in Colonial Taiwan: Japanese Subalterns and Their Aborigine Wives, 1895-1930,” Journal of Asian Studies 64:2 (May 2005): 323-360. These marriages were discouraged following the Wushe Incident.

20 Matsuda notes that the later tours also included visits to model farm villages as well as to Ise Shrine. She points out that the Taiwanese visitors had been hoping from the very beginning that the visits would introduce them to improved seeds and farming techniques, but this came about only after the late 1920s. Matsuda, 91, 101-2.

21 Despite their idealization of native samurai tradition, these metropolitan terrorists were no more inclined to forego guns for swords than were the Taiwanese guerrillas.

22 “Taitōchō Ami zoku ha kaku kataru!” Riban no tomo, June 1936, 10.

23 Saitō sei, “Takasagozoku kankōdan’in o tsurete,” Riban no tomo, December, 1934, 10.

24 Matsuda, 99-100.

25 On the testimony of Taiwanese aboriginal soldiers, see Chih-Huei Huang, “The Yamatodamashi of the Takasago volunteers of Taiwan: A Reading of the Postcolonial Situation,” in Globalizing Japan: Ethnography of the Japanese Presence in Asia, Europe, and America, ed. Harumi Befu and Sylvie Guichard-Anguis (London: Routledge, 2001), 222-250.

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Volume 12 | Issue 10 | Number 4

Article ID 4089

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